IT Still Controls Most Cloud Usage: Cisco Survey

by Chris Preimesberger

NEWS ANALYSIS: Line-of-business folks inside the enterprise do not have control over company clouds. Not yet, anyway.

Cisco Systems has taken the idea of the Internet of everything, which is simply a longer name for the Internet of things (IoT), and sprinted away with it. This is not unexpected behavior from the world's largest and most powerful Internet networking provider.

Along those lines, the San Jose, Calif.-based IT giant has been producing with increasing frequency surveys, white papers and other research to prove to shareholders, the public and potential customers that its corporate strategy is on the right track. Its thinking is that everything with an on/off switch will eventually be wired or wirelessly connected and controlled by someone--or some thing--somewhere in the world, and that Cisco wants to do as much of that connecting as possible.

Cisco, like everybody else in IT, also believes that cloud computing is central to all of this; that's also not a difficult concept to understand. Naturally, all of this plays directly into the products and services that Cisco makes--all those switches, routers, random connectors, intelligent network software and so on--that link devices to systems to people and back again.

New Global Cloud Index Comes Out Oct. 15

While we're on the topic, the company's annual Global Cloud Index is coming out Oct. 15. Use this link on that day to obtain more information and/or a copy.

Last August, Cisco estimated in another extensive research report, "The Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models," that connections among people, processes, data and things will surge from 10 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. That's a big-time increase by anybody's standards.

Since the cloud will be the chief delivery system in the IoT economy, the "cloud readiness" of each organization will determine its ability to reap value in an era of sweeping change, Manjula Talreja, Cisco's vice-president of Global Cloud Practice/Consulting Services, told eWEEK.

"The pay-as-you-grow model of the cloud has attracted IT leaders in emerging markets first and foremost as an avenue to innovate and increase organizational agility for the company overall," Talreja said.

Global Survey of 4,226 IT Decision Makers

In the "Impact of Cloud" study, Cisco Consulting Services, in partnership with Intel, surveyed 4,226 IT leaders in 18 industries across nine key economies, developed as well as emerging: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. In each country enterprise and midsized companies were represented. The survey was conducted during March and April 2013.

Perhaps the one data point that stood out most to eWEEK was the indication that despite what has been written in publications and presented at podiums for the last year or so, the line-of-business folks inside the enterprise do not have the most control over company, or public, clouds. Not yet, anyway. That distinction, according to the Cisco report, still belongs--you've guessed it--to the IT department.

Here's the way Cisco phrases it:

"IT [is] seen as front and center: Despite the rise of LOB influence, our IT respondents—especially those in emerging markets—believe that IT will maintain a centralized and well-funded role, managing cloud solutions with consistent policy and security solutions. Note: Respondents in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America are nearly twice as likely to project an increase in the size of their IT organization than were their counterparts in Europe and North America.

"But LOBs [line-of-business employees] are gaining influence: The influence of LOBs will extend across all IT lifecycle stages and create unprecedented complexity for IT organizations as they grapple with security and technical support. As IT transforms to an 'as-a-service' model, the interlocks and relationships between IT and the LOBs will need to change."

Other highlights in the report:

--Cloud usage is growing: Cloud—whether public, private or hybrid—occupies a significant share of IT spending, 23 percent, and respondents saw it rising to 27 percent by 2016. Private cloud is the most prevalent cloud deployment method at 45 percent.

--High marks for cloud providers: In a competitive marketplace, cloud providers will need to offer end-to-end solutions while orchestrating an ecosystem of partners. Accordingly, high ratings for cloud providers in the survey come with high demands: for security capabilities, custom solutions, and guarantees on service levels.

--IT wants to feel safe in the cloud: No matter which vertical industry or global region was surveyed, security and privacy issues are top of mind and seen as a clear inhibitor to cloud growth. Robust security and data protection capabilities are also seen as the most critical factors for cloud service providers.

--One size does not fit all: In a world of many clouds—public, private and hybrid—companies will need to formulate an approach that enables them to meet the over-arching goals for their organization. IT leaders should consider how best to partner with key stakeholders, such as LOBs and third-party providers, with an approach that is tailored for their unique needs.
--The IT-LOB partnership: Whether centralization and greater resourcing for IT is realistic remains to be seen. Regardless, IT will need to partner with LOBs in complex new ways. In the view of the IT leaders surveyed, IT will evolve to be a broker of services to LOBs, acting as a critical intermediary and orchestrator of internal and external cloud solutions within the business, while also providing technical support and security.

--A wake-up call for IT. Given the rising influence of LOBs, IT must step up to new challenges: moving rapidly, fostering innovation, enabling new end-user experiences, and positively impacting business outcomes in a measurable way.

To download the full report, go here.

This article was originally published on Friday Oct 11th 2013